Friday, July 29, 2011

Featured Artisan: Personally Charmed

It's yet another Friday! Today, Anna Kay Creations is interviewing Heather Brown of Personally Charmed.
First Off, tell us a little about yourself!

I gave up my career as a high school teacher when my daughter was born. I always intended to go back when she entered pre-school but the economy tanked, the teaching jobs became scarce, and my hearing loss progressed.

When I finally made the decision to make my hobby and art into a fulltime business and gave up teaching, I felt like a heavy weight had lifted from my shoulders, that I was free to create without any feelings of guilt about how I should be searching for a job instead of wasting time and money making pretty things. It was then, that my creativity took off, my business bloomed, and everything just felt right.

How did you start creating your artwork, and how long have you been doing it?

I loved staying at home with my daughter and in the beginning, she kept me pretty challenged.  But I am one of those people who thrives from a creative challenge; I can't survive very long without making something or solving some kind of problem. 

I love to make things and to work with my hands.  So one year I wanted to make Christmas gifts for all of my sisters-in-law, and I had seen glass tile pendants before and decided to try making some.  After countless hours of research and trial and error experimentation and enough money to buy a hundred that somebody else had already made, I finally had a decent product.  I ended up making over a hundred of them to give out as party favors at a Christmas party that year.  And at that party, one of the guests asked if I could make one with a photo of her children on it.  

Back to work I went and my business was born.  By the next summer, I had opened an Etsy shop because so many people were requesting the photo pendants.  Over time my products evolved and I no longer make glass tile pendants.  The work began to be redundant and the creative itch was throbbing.  

I wanted to keep improving the products, make them different from other photo jewelry products and allow a little more creativity into the designs so I took up silver smithing and am now adding hand fabricated photo jewelry and other metal pieces to the Personally Charmed brand.  With these new pieces, I feel like my work has finally evolved from a craft into a skilled art.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I think that I am mostly inspired by nature.  A lot of my silver work has organic lines and rough textures that are patterns found in the natural world around us.  I love the feeling of taking something that comes from the Earth and molding and forging it with my own hands into something beautiful that can be carried with us on our bodies and shared with the people around us. 

Outside of crafting what else do you enjoy doing? 
There is nothing tastier than homegrown veggies and herbs! I garden all year round. Even in December, I'm pulling up carrots to make room for planting the onions in January.  I also like to sew, make fancy cakes, and am studying American Sign Language.  I've been writing a novel for about five years, hopefully someday, I will finish it.  I also blog both on my business website and on my personal blog about my journey with progressive hearing loss.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I work hard to keep my studio as green as possible.  I only use reclaimed metals rather than newly mined metals because of the destruction caused from mining.  I also reuse packaging and recycle.



 Heather thank you for the lovely interview :)



Heather's designs are gorgeous. It sounds like she made the perfect career choice from teaching to creating! I love her green efforts too which are so important! ~Val

Love the jewelry!


That bracelet and ring are GORGEOUS! Stunning. THanks for sharing.

I love that first bracelet.

Love the jewelry, especially that cuff! Gorgeous :)

(found your blog through the etsy Build Your Blog team, and it's great! Love that you feature fellow artists!)


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